Why: Perhaps more than any other species, the polar bear has become an emblem of global warming. "With the rate the ice is melting in Alaska — where temperatures are increasing twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to the National Climate Assessment — it is likely that polar bears will disappear in our lifetime," says the World Wildlife Fund's Jim Sano. As the ice thaws much earlier in the season, and more rapidly, the animals are facing a decreasing number of days that they're able to spend on ice and catch seals during the limited feeding time from November to April.
What to do: To witness the polar bears in the wild, book a six-day trip to Manitoba with WWF partner Natural Habitat, the first travel company to go carbon-neutral. During the Classic Polar Bear Adventure, you are guaranteed to see these incredible creatures — as well as the northern lights from the outfitter's brand new Aurora Pod mobile.
More info: worldwildlife.org